Lightning strikes on No. 1 Hammond

Top-ranked for 1st time, Bears lose to Long Reach

Bowen soon to be Terp


High Schools

April 27, 2001|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

Less than a week ago, Hammond baseball coach Bob Maxey talked about the pressures a team faces when it just happens to be undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the area for the first time in school history, as the Bears are.

"You never know what can happen in baseball," Maxey said. "You run into a hot pitcher, your bats go cold for a game, suddenly some team jumps out and gets you. It's pretty tough to stay on top."

Eerily, that's exactly what happened yesterday, as Hammond lost for the first time this season, falling, 2-1, to Long Reach, thanks in part to a superb pitching performance from Lightning senior Bob Helman, who didn't allow a hit in six innings against one of the toughest lineups in the Baltimore area.

"Our guys are really just walking on air right now," said Long Reach coach Tim O'Brien. "The smiles on their faces is really something to see. This is a nice moment for our baseball program."

Helman and Hammond's Brian Brewer stared each other down in an impressive pitching duel, as the two teams combined for five hits. Long Reach took a 1-0 lead in the second inning off a bases-empty home run from Ryan Pope, but Hammond, which had to go to extra innings Wednesday to beat Mount Hebron, tied things up in the third after two walks and a sacrifice. Still, Helman didn't crack, mixing a variety of pitchers to hold the Bears hitless until Phil Pinkham singled in the seventh.

"Hammond has such a fearsome lineup, you just cringe facing it because they can mash the ball," O'Brien said. "But Helman and our catcher Justin Sosebee really did an excellent job of keeping them guessing."

Long Reach finally broke through in the seventh inning, when sophomore left fielder Joe Lake ripped a double off the fence, scoring freshman Robbie O'Brien from first base.

"Joe has just been unconscious as a hitter lately, and he really came up big right there," O'Brien said.

In the bottom of the inning, Pinkham singled, but senior Chris Davis came on to end the threat, striking out Hammond's Jason Maxey -- one of the best hitters in the area -- to end the game.

"You've got to love the matchup of Davis and Maxey; their best against our best, game on the line," O'Brien said. "That's just great high school baseball. Hammond is such a great club, to play giant killer against them, you hope this can give us some momentum to knock off a few teams in the playoffs. It was just a nice moment for our team."

Bowen to Maryland

Glenelg senior Chris Bowen is considered, in many circles, to be Howard County's most talented athlete. He is an All-Metro football player and All-County basketball player, but his best sport is actually baseball, where he has been a standout left-handed pitcher and center fielder for the past three seasons.

Years of dedication paid off this week, when the University of Maryland offered him the baseball scholarship he'd been hoping for.

"It's a bit of a relief because they'd been recruiting me for a while, but wanted to see me pitch a few more times," said Bowen, who threw a complete-game three-hitter against Atholton on Wednesday. "They watched me pitch against Long Reach (April 18) and offered it to me that night."

Boys lacrosse

Oakland Mills junior attackman Sean McElroy was to be the first to admit that the Scorpions were a little fired up yesterday against Wilde Lake, having just ended up on the wrong end of a 17-5 whipping against Mount Hebron on Monday.

Unloading for a career-high eight goals, McElroy took revenge on Wilde Lake peppering the Wildecats pretty much at will during a 13-0 victory at Oakland Mills.

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